3 April 2013
By: Tanya Fyfe (BEng(Environmental))
If you have duplicate or unwanted promotional magnets sitting around, why not snazzy up your fridge or make some great gifts by sticking them to the back of your own mini pieces of artwork? Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Cut shapes from pieces of your children’s colourful artwork – think stars, hearts or anything you can find a simple stencil for. Alternatively, cut out the shapes first then let your little ones decorate them.
- Used greeting cards often have pictures that lend themselves to magnet making.
- Cut pictures from magazines, recycled wrapping paper and old calendars.
Unless your pictures are already on cardboard, it is probably worth backing them with cardboard such as an old cereal box. I find it easiest to glue to picture to the cardboard first, and cut the two layers out together.
These ideas are very simple, but the opportunities are only limited by your imagination and that of your little ones. Stick the magnets on the back, and enjoy!
About the Author: Tanya Fyfe is an eco mum and environmental engineer and lives in the WA Goldfields with her husband Andy and son Billy (and one on the way!). The family's aim is to live sustainably and for Billy to grow up understanding where food comes from and how it is produced. They generate solar electricity and have an organic vegetable garden and modest orchard irrigated entirely with grey water.
10 December 2012
(Macaroni Angel image source and tutorial)
Be inspired by elements of nature and create unique, eco-friendly Christmas decorations, centrepieces and crafts
I can’t resist the appeal of unique and handmade Christmas decorations. At this time of year when shops are brimming with cheap, mass-produced decorations, I yearn for the character and simplicity of handmade Christmas crafts. Often made from ingredients found in nature, these decorations are the greener option for sure!
Australians are well known for making decorations from materials at hand and my thrifty maternal grandmother did this well. Every December her house would be adorned with Christmas arrangements of pinecones and gumnuts and she’d try her hand at a new Christmas craft each year. My favourite were her macaroni Christmas Angels, similar to the one pictured above.
Rather than decorating your home with tinsel and store-bought decorations, why don’t you try to create an eco-friendly Christmas display, decoration or even Christmas Tree this year?
About the Author: Laura Trotta (BEng(Environmental, MSc(Environmental Chemistry)) is an eco mum, environmental engineer and founder of Sustainababy. She lives in regional South Australia with her husband Paul and sons Matthew (3 years) and Christopher (6 months).
24 August 2012
By: Laura Trotta (BEng(Environmental), MSc(Environmental Chemistry))
Reuse your child's artwork to create unique and eco-friendly giftwrap
Like many parents of young children, our weekends are often spent socialising with the under three crowd at birthday parties.
Given our elder son creates more paintings and drawings than our fridge could ever display, we reuse these as giftwrap. It's just one small way we reduce our household waste and save ourselves the purchase (and environmental) cost of commercial giftwrap and greeting cards.
Accompanied with a simple card created from his artwork or a giftcard we've received, our giftwrap is unique, personal, eco-friendly and cost-effective.
How do you reuse your child's artwork?
About the Author: Laura Trotta is an eco mum, environmental engineer and founder of Sustainababy. She lives in regional South Australia with husband Paul and sons Matthew and Christopher.
18 April 2012
By: Laura Trotta (BEng(Environmental, MSc (Environmental Chemistry))
Turn old cards and clothing into green craft materials and watch your child enjoy making their unique recycled collage
Children love gluing and sticking but art materials can add up over time and clutter your home unnecessarily. Turning items around the home such as greeting cards, magazines and old clothes into green craft materials makes both monetary and environmental sense!
Recently I cut out pictures from my son's 2nd year birthday cards, added them to material from some old bras, and watched him create a colourful recycled collage on the back of some recycled cardboard. Gravitating to the colourful pictures (and away from the pretty material), he created quite the eco masterpiece!
Note: the older child will delight in carefully cutting the pictures out themselves under supervision.
About the Author: Laura Trotta (BEng (Environmental), MSc (Environmental Chemistry)) is an eco mum, environmental engineer and founder of Sustainababy. She lives in regional South Australia with her husband Paul and son Matthew.
13 February 2012
By: Laura Trotta (BEng(Environmental, MSc (Environmental Chemistry))
Watch your toddler or pre-schooler delight in using their natural environment for inspiration and materials as they make their own nature collage.
Most pre-schoolers love craft activities, however there's no denying that they can make a huge mess! With just a few minutes of planning, it is possible to combine craft with the outdoors and set the stage for your child to create their own nature collage.
Nature collages have many benefits for both parent and child, which include:
- indulging children's love of craft without destroying the house,
- educating children about their natural environment,
- not costing you a fortune in craft materials
- having minimal environmental impact!
Requiring minimal effort to set up, nature collages are the perfect craft activity for children over two years, however are simple enough for toddlers to also enjoy. Simply follow the steps below and your child will be creating their own nature craft in no time:
- Set up a large sheet of paper and glue with paintbrush on a flat surface outside
- Explain to your child that they can collect any items in the garden to glue onto the paper (of course, if you don't want your prized pansies included you may need to say so)
- Take the opportunity while your child is collecting their "craft materials" to explain what they are, where they come from and/or why they are in your garden
- Watch your child enjoy both gathering the materials and constructing their own nature collage.
Last week my son Matthew made a nature collage using materials from our backyard. As you can see from the photos, he really got into the activity and enjoyed collecting (and pouring) the sand and gathering feathers from our chicken coup!
As we live in Outback Australia, our garden composition varies greatly to many other homes in Australia. I'd love to hear what items your child used in making their nature collage, or even better, see their collages! Feel free to post photos of your child's colourful creations on our Facebook page.
About the Author: Laura Trotta (BEng(Environmental), MSc (Environmental Chemistry)) is an eco mum, environmental engineer and founder of Sustainababy. She lives in regional South Australia with her husband Paul and son Matthew.